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Psychon Bull Rev. 2004 Feb;11(1):24-30.

"One-thousand one... one-thousand two...": chronometric counting violates the scalar property in interval timing.

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Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226, USA.

Erratum in

  • Psychon Bull Rev. 2004 Apr;11(2):387.


Weber's law applied to interval timing is called the scalar property. A hallmark of timing in the seconds-to-minutes range, the scalar property is characterized by proportionality between the standard deviation of a response distribution and the duration being timed. In this temporal reproduction study, we assessed whether the scalar property was upheld when participants chronometrically counted three visually presented durations (8, 16, and 24 sec) as compared with explicitly timing durations without counting. Accuracy for timing and accuracy for counting were similar. However, whereas timing variability showed the scalar property, counting variability did not. Counting variability across intervals was accurately modeled by summing a random variable representing an individual count. A second experiment replicated the first and demonstrated that task differences were not due to presentation order or practice effects. The distinct psychophysical properties of counting and timing behaviors argue for greater attention to participant strategies in timing studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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